Open main menu

Women's World Chess Championship

  (Redirected from Women's World Chess Champion)
Current Women's World Chess Champion Ju Wenjun from China

The Women's World Chess Championship (WWCC) is played to determine the women's world champion in chess. Like the World Chess Championship, it is administered by FIDE.

Unlike with most sports recognized by the International Olympic Committee, where competition is either "mixed" (containing everyone) or split into men and women,[1] in chess women are both allowed to compete in the "open" division (including the World Chess Championship) yet also have a separate Women's Championship (only open to females).[2]

HistoryEdit

Era of MenchikEdit

The Women's World Championship was established by FIDE in 1927 as a single tournament held alongside the Chess Olympiad. The winner of that tournament, Vera Menchik, did not have any special rights as the men's champion did—instead she had to defend her title by playing as many games as all the challengers. She did this successfully in every other championship in her lifetime (1930, 1931, 1933, 1935, 1937 and 1939).

Dominance of the Soviet Union players (1950–1991)Edit

 
1981 Women's World Championship, Maia Chiburdanidze vs. Nana Alexandria

Menchik died, still champion, in 1944 in a German air raid on Kent. The next championship was another round-robin tournament in 1949–50 and was won by Lyudmila Rudenko. Thereafter a system similar to that of the men's championship was established, with a cycle of Candidates events (and later Interzonals) to pick a challenger to face the reigning champion.

The first such Candidates tournament was held in Moscow, 1952. Elisaveta Bykova won and proceeded to defeat Rudenko with seven wins, five losses, and two draws to become the third champion. The next Candidates tournament was won by Olga Rubtsova. Instead of directly playing Bykova, however, FIDE decided that the championship should be held between the three top players in the world. Rubtsova won at Moscow in 1956, one-half point ahead of Bykova, who finished five points ahead of Rudenko. Bykova regained the title in 1958 and defended it against Kira Zvorykina, winner of a Candidates tournament, in 1959.

The fourth Candidates tournament was held in 1961 in Vrnjacka Banja, and was utterly dominated by Nona Gaprindashvili of Georgia, who won with ten wins, zero losses, and six draws. She then decisively defeated Bykova with seven wins, no losses, and four draws in Moscow, 1962 to become champion. Gaprindashvili defended her title against Alla Kushnir of Russia at Riga 1965 and Tbilisi/Moscow 1969. In 1972, FIDE introduced the same system for the women's championship as with the men's: a series of Interzonal tournaments, followed by the Candidates matches. Kushnir won again, only to be defeated by Gaprindashvili at Riga 1972. Gaprindashvili defended the title one last time against Nana Alexandria of Georgia at Pitsunda/Tbilisi 1975.

In 1976–1978 Candidates cycle, 17-year-old Maya Chiburdanidze of Georgia ended up the surprise star, defeating Nana Alexandria, Elena Akhmilovskaya, and Alla Kushnir to face Gaprindashvili in the 1978 finals at Tbilisi. Chiburdanidze proceeded to soundly defeat Gaprindashvili, marking the end of one Georgian's domination and the beginning of another's. Chiburdanidze defended her title against Alexandria at Borjomi/Tbilisi 1981 and Irina Levitina at Volgograd 1984. Following this, FIDE reintroduced the Candidates tournament system. Akhmilovskaya, who had earlier lost to Chiburdanidze in the Candidates matches, won the tournament was but was still defeated by Chiburdanidze at Sofia 1986. Chiburdanidze's final title defense came against Nana Ioseliani at Telavi 1988.

Post-Soviet era (1991–2010)Edit

Chiburdanidze's domination ended in Manila 1991, where the young Chinese star Xie Jun defeated her, after finishing second to the still-active Gaprindashvili in an Interzonal, tying with Alisa Marić in the Candidates tournament, and then beating Maric in a tie-breaker match.

It was during this time that the three Polgar sisters Susan (also known as Zsuzsa), Sofia (Zsófia), and Judit emerged as dominant players. However they tended to compete in men's tournaments, avoiding the women's championship.

Susan Polgar eventually changed her policy. She won the 1992 Candidates tournament in Shanghai. The Candidates final—an eight-game match between the top two finishers in the tournament—was a drawn match between Polgar and Ioseliani, even after two tiebreaks. The match was decided by a lottery, which Ioseliani won. She was then promptly crushed by Xie Jun (8½–2½) in the championship at Monaco 1993.

The next cycle was dominated by Polgar. She tied with Chiburdanidze in the Candidates tournament, defeated her easily in the match (5½–1½), and then decisively defeated Xie Jun (8½–4½) in Jaén 1996 for the championship.

In 1997, Russian Alisa Galliamova and Chinese Xie Jun finished first and second, but Galliamova refused to play the final match entirely in China. FIDE eventually awarded the match to Xie Jun by default.

However, by the time all these delays were sorted out, Polgar had given birth to her first child. She requested that the match be postponed. FIDE refused, and eventually set up the championship to be between Galliamova and Xie Jun. The championship was held in Kazan, Tatarstan and Shenyang, China, and Xie Jun won with five wins, three losses, and seven draws.

In 2000 a knock-out event, similar to the FIDE men's title and held alongside it, was the new format of the women's world championship. It was won by Xie Jun. In 2001 a similar event determined the champion, Zhu Chen. Another knock-out, this one held separately from the men's event, in Elista, the capital of the Russian republic of Kalmykia (of which FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov is president), from May 21 to June 8, 2004, produced Bulgarian Antoaneta Stefanova as champion. As with Polgar five years prior, Zhu Chen did not participate due to pregnancy.

In 2006 the title returned to China. The new champion Xu Yuhua was pregnant during the championship.

In 2008, the title went to Russian grandmaster Alexandra Kosteniuk, who, in the final, beat Chinese prodigy Hou Yifan 2½–1½, then aged 14 (see Women's World Chess Championship 2008).

In 2010 the title returned to China once again. Hou Yifan, the runner-up in the previous championship, became the youngest ever women's world champion at the age of 16. She beat her compatriot WGM Ruan Lufei 2–2 (classic) 3–1 (rapid playoffs).

Yearly tournaments (2010–2018)Edit

 
Women's World Chess Championship, Tirana 2011

Beginning from 2010, the Women's World Chess Championship would be held annually in alternating formats. In even years a 64-player knockout system would be used, in the odd years a classical match featuring only two players would be held.[3] The 2011 edition was between the 2010 champion Hou Yifan and the winner of the FIDE Women's Grand Prix 2009–2011. Since Hou Yifan won the Grand Prix, her challenger was the runner-up, Koneru Humpy.[4]

In 2011 Hou Yifan successfully defended her women's world champion title in the Women's World Chess Championship 2011 in Tirana, Albania against Koneru Humpy. Hou won three games and drew five in the ten-game match, winning the title with two games to spare.

Hou Yifan was knocked-out in the second round in Women's World Chess Championship 2012, which was played in Khanty Mansiysk. Anna Ushenina, seeded 30th in the tournament, won the final against Antoaneta Stefanova 3½–2½.

The Women's World Chess Championship 2013 was a match over 10 games between defending champion Anna Ushenina and Hou Yifan who had won the FIDE Women's Grand Prix 2011–2012. After seven of ten games Hou Yifan won the match 5.5 to 1.5 to retake the title.

After Hou declined to defend her title at the Women's World Chess Championship 2015, the title was won by Mariya Muzychuk, who defeated Natalia Pogonina in the final.

Hou defeated Muzychuk 6-3 to reclaim the Women's World Chess Championship 2016 title for her 4th championship in March 2016.

The following year Tan Zhongyi defeated Anna Muzychuk for the title at the Women's World Chess Championship 2017.

Tan lost the title defending it against Ju Wenjun (with Hou not participating at this event) at the Women's World Chess Championship Match 2018.

Return to match-only formatEdit

Due to various hosting and timing issues, the championships had varied from their intended annual calendar in recent years.[5] FIDE held a second world championship in 2018 in order to get back on schedule.[6]

After the 2018 championship tournament the new FIDE president Arkady Dvorkovich announced the format would be changed back to matches only. He said the many different champions the yearly system created discredited the championship title as a whole.[7] The challenger to the current world champion is the winner of the Candidates tournament, held in June 2019.

Women's World Chess ChampionsEdit

Name Years Country
Vera Menchik 1927–1944   Russia (in exile) /   Czechoslovakia /   United Kingdom
none 1944–1950 World War II
Lyudmila Rudenko 1950–1953   Soviet Union (Ukrainian SSR)
Elisaveta Bykova 1953–1956   Soviet Union (Russian SFSR)
Olga Rubtsova 1956–1958   Soviet Union (Russian SFSR)
Elisaveta Bykova 1958–1962   Soviet Union (Russian SFSR)
Nona Gaprindashvili 1962–1978   Soviet Union (Georgian SSR)
Maia Chiburdanidze 1978–1991   Soviet Union (Georgian SSR)
Xie Jun 1991–1996   China
Susan Polgar 1996–1999   Hungary
Xie Jun 1999–2001   China
Zhu Chen 2001–2004   China
Antoaneta Stefanova 2004–2006   Bulgaria
Xu Yuhua 2006–2008   China
Alexandra Kosteniuk 2008–2010   Russia
Hou Yifan 2010–2012   China
Anna Ushenina 2012–2013   Ukraine
Hou Yifan 2013–2015   China
Mariya Muzychuk 2015–2016   Ukraine
Hou Yifan 2016–2017   China
Tan Zhongyi 2017–2018   China
Ju Wenjun 2018–   China

List of Women's World Chess ChampionshipsEdit

Year Host country Host city World champion Runner-up(s) Won (+) Lost (−) Draw (=) Format
Women's World Chess Championship (1927–1944)
1927   United Kingdom London   Vera Menchik 11 players 10 0 1 12-player round-robin tournament
1930   Germany Hamburg   Vera Menchik 4 players 6 1 1 5-player double round-robin tournament
1931   Czechoslovakia Prague   Vera Menchik 4 players 8 0 0 5-player double round-robin tournament
1933   United Kingdom Folkestone   Vera Menchik 7 players 14 0 0 8-player double round-robin tournament
1934   Netherlands Rotterdam   Vera Menchik   Sonja Graf 3 1 0 4-game match
1935   Poland Warsaw   Vera Menchik 9 players 9 0 0 10-player round-robin tournament
1937   Sweden Stockholm   Vera Menchik 25 players 14 0 0 26-player Swiss-system tournament
1937   Austria Semmering   Vera Menchik   Sonja Graf 9 2 5 16-game match
1939   Argentina Buenos Aires   Vera Menchik 19 players 17 0 2 20-player round-robin tournament
Vera Menchik died in 1944 as reigning world champion.
Women's World Chess Championship (1944–1950)
Interregnum
Women's World Chess Championship (1950–1999)
1950   Soviet Union Moscow   Lyudmila Rudenko 15 players 11½ points out of 15 16-player round-robin tournament
1953   Soviet Union Moscow   Elisaveta Bykova   Lyudmila Rudenko 7 5 2 14-game match
1956   Soviet Union Moscow   Olga Rubtsova   Elisaveta Bykova 10 points out of 16 3-player (Rubtsova, Bykova, Rudenko) octuple round-robin
1958   Soviet Union Moscow   Elisaveta Bykova   Olga Rubtsova 7 4 3 14-game match
1959   Soviet Union Moscow   Elisaveta Bykova   Kira Zvorykina 6 2 5 13-game match
1962   Soviet Union Moscow   Nona Gaprindashvili   Elisaveta Bykova 7 0 4 11-game match
1965   Soviet Union Riga   Nona Gaprindashvili   Alla Kushnir 7 3 3 13-game match
1969   Soviet Union Tbilisi
Moscow
  Nona Gaprindashvili   Alla Kushnir 6 2 5 14-game match
1972   Soviet Union Riga   Nona Gaprindashvili   Alla Kushnir 5 4 7 16-game match
1975   Soviet Union Pitsunda
Tbilisi
  Nona Gaprindashvili   Nana Alexandria 8 3 1 12-game match
1978   Soviet Union Tbilisi   Maia Chiburdanidze   Nona Gaprindashvili 4 2 9 15-game match
1981   Soviet Union Borjomi
Tbilisi
  Maia Chiburdanidze   Nana Alexandria 4 4 8 16-game match (draw)
1984   Soviet Union Volgograd   Maia Chiburdanidze   Irina Levitina 5 2 7 14-game match
1986   Bulgaria Sofia   Maia Chiburdanidze   Elena Akhmilovskaya 4 1 9 14-game match
1988   Soviet Union Telavi   Maia Chiburdanidze   Nana Ioseliani 3 2 11 16-game match
1991   Philippines Manila   Xie Jun   Maia Chiburdanidze 4 2 9 15-game match
1993   Monaco Monaco   Xie Jun   Nana Ioseliani 7 1 3 11-game match
1996   Spain Jaén   Susan Polgar   Xie Jun 6 2 5 13-game match
1999   Russia
  China
Kazan
Shenyang
  Xie Jun   Alisa Galliamova 5 3 7 15-game match
Women's World Chess Championship (2000–2018) (addition of the knockout format)
2000   India New Delhi   Xie Jun   Qin Kanying 1 0 3 64-player knock-out tournament (4-game championship match)
2001   Russia Moscow   Zhu Chen   Alexandra Kosteniuk 2+3 2+1 0 64-player knock-out tournament (4-game championship match, plus tie-breaks)
2004   Russia Elista   Antoaneta Stefanova   Ekaterina Kovalevskaya 2 0 1 64-player knock-out tournament (4-game championship match, won early)
2006   Russia Yekaterinburg   Xu Yuhua   Alisa Galliamova 2 0 1 64-player knock-out tournament (4-game championship match, won early)
2008   Russia Nalchik   Alexandra Kosteniuk   Hou Yifan 1 0 3 64-player knock-out tournament (4-game championship match)
2010   Turkey Hatay   Hou Yifan   Ruan Lufei 1+2 1 2+2 64-player knock-out tournament (4-game championship match, plus tie-breaks)
2011   Albania Tirana   Hou Yifan   Humpy Koneru 3 0 5 10-game match, won early
2012   Russia Khanty-Mansiysk   Anna Ushenina   Antoaneta Stefanova 1+1 1 2+1 64-player knock-out tournament (4-game championship match, plus tie-breaks)
2013   China Taizhou   Hou Yifan   Anna Ushenina 4 0 3 10-game match, won early
2015   Russia Sochi   Mariya Muzychuk   Natalia Pogonina 1 0 3 64-player knock-out tournament (4-game championship match)
2016   Ukraine Lviv   Hou Yifan   Mariya Muzychuk 3 0 6 10-game match, won early
2017   Iran Tehran   Tan Zhongyi   Anna Muzychuk 1+1 1 2+1 64-player knock-out tournament (4-game championship match, plus tie-breaks)
May 2018   China Shanghai
Chongqing
  Ju Wenjun   Tan Zhongyi 3 2 5 10-game match
Nov 2018   Russia Khanty-Mansiysk   Ju Wenjun   Kateryna Lagno 1+2 1 2+2 64-player knock-out tournament (4-game championship match, plus tie-breaks)
Women's World Chess Championship (2020) (return to match format only)
2020   China
  Russia
Shanghai
Vladivostok
  Ju Wenjun vs   Aleksandra Goryachkina 12-game match

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ See for instance the discussion in the Dutee Chand decision at the Court of Arbitration for Sport regarding the International Association of Athletics Federations: [1]
  2. ^ Handbook - FIDE Statutes. FIDE.
  3. ^ Regulations for the Women’s World Chess Championship Cycle. FIDE.
  4. ^ "Regulations and Bidding Procedure for the Women's Grand-Prix 2009-2010". FIDE. 30 July 2008. Retrieved 10 October 2019
  5. ^ FIDE General Assembly Agenda (5.20.8)
  6. ^ FIDE Calendar 2018. FIDE.
  7. ^ "A. Dvorkovich: Format of the Women's World Championship Cycle will be changed – Women's World Championship 2018". ugra2018.fide.com. 2018-10-13. Retrieved 2019-10-10.

External linksEdit